In this article, I will explore the many benefits of aerobic exercise, but specifically, I will talk about the psychological benefits of aerobic exercise, which to my (healthy and happy) mind is almost more important. After all, an unhealthy mind is an unhealthy body!
But, what IS aerobic exercise??
According to the definition from the Global Healing Centers website, ìAerobic exercise is a type of movement such as running or cycling that gets your heart pumping faster and increases your oxygen intake.î
Fine examples of aerobic exercise are; running, dynamic yoga, cycling, fast walking, circuit training, skiing and rollerblading.
Ok, so we are all told we need to partake in aerobic exercise to obtain many benefits, such as, weight loss, better skin and muscle tone. But thatís not all! There are psychological benefits of aerobic exercise too!
So, what are the psychological benefits of aerobic exercise?
In short, the benefits are; improved mood, reduces anxiety, reduces depression and acts as a buffer against stress.
But lets go into a little more detailÖ
The Psychological Payoffs
When we exercise aerobically, our bodies produces little chemical called endorphins, which, scientifically speaking, are polypeptides, which are able to bind to the neuron-receptors in the brain to give relief from pain. Endorphins are not just produced from exercise; they are also triggered by deep-breathing, meditation, eating spicy food and deep laughter. Just donít do all five at onceÖ
Endorphins are believed to produce four key effects on the body; they relieve pain, they reduce stress, they enhance the immune system and they postpone the aging process.
It may be worth your while to stock up on some fitness equipment, they might make things easier for you. I prefer to exercise outside but I do have an indoor stationary bike, that way, if itís raining, I have no excuse not to exercise.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Depression and Anxiety can lead to a feeling of isolation. Partaking in aerobic sports, one can choose to join a running club, swimming club, gym or any other sports club. Itís an excellent way to gain the psychological benefits of aerobic activity, because it gets you out an about and can put you in positions where you HAVE to speak to people.
Aerobic exercise offers a distraction. For an hour or so each day, you can put yourself in a position where you are too busy worrying about the prospect of having to run another two miles before you can stop.
Burning excess fat and toning up can boost anyoneís confidence. Clothes fit better, and you receive compliments from friends. Which often is enough to begin to lift the heavy cloud of a mild depression.
Do you feel like the whole world is collapsing on top of you? I think everyone does at one stage or another. If you keep positive, it will pass. Aerobic exercise is a great way to keep positive. When you are stressed, it is important to get enough sleep. Exercisers actually go to sleep faster, are more refreshed and have sharper memories. Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, bringing extra sugar and oxygen, which can help when concentrating. And once again, the little endorphins can make you happier, making you feel like maybe it will all be ok after all.
What do I think?
I am a total exercise lover, even when I don’t feel like exercising I have developed a self discipline to exercise anyway because the chances are the reason I don’t want to exercise is because my mood is low. How can I boost my mood? My exercising! It almost always puts me in a better mood and I always choose an exercise that matches with my mood. If I’m feeling tired and down I love to go for something like yoga or pilates and stretch it all out, alongside a bit of steady state cardio. If I’m feeling anxious or I have a lot of energy I will tend to go for something more upbeat such as weight lifting or a run.